Various - Confuse Yr Idols: A Tribute To Sonic Youth (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Confuse Yr Idols: A Tribute To Sonic Youth (2004)


There really can't be that high of a success rate for tribute albums. Either a band will try to cover an artist in their style thus making it sound redundant, or an artist will cover the song in their own style and fall flat on their face. But then, this is Sonic Youth. The difficulty in covering Sonic Youth and making it your own style would leave you with a departure in sound too far to continue calling it tributing. Thankfully, this handful of obscure bands (excuse me if my "Hip Noise-Art Outfits" list doesn't match yours) does it right.

There's a cohesiveness in Confuse Yr Idols most compilations or tributes couldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Although none of these songs are direct manifestos to the songs covered here, each is so detailed in its own way that it seems more an ambitious reflection than individual cover, while still holding key ground parts to each track manipulated. Sonic Youth seemingly reinvented themselves well, which is why all the little changeups here make the disc so damn interesting.

Although the 12-track compilation acts evenmoreso of an arty reflecting aesthetic of an otherwise already noisy and experimental outfit, that's what makes it work. The practical hip-hop drum 'n bass and quirky chirp of "a funny, sunny street" in KY Prophet's "Making The Nature Scene" definitely differentiates in delivery yet retains the atmospheric consciousness the original once pulled for.

There may or may not be a bit of history surrounding the random yelping of Soundgarden's "Spoonman" chorus right smack in the middle of the bridge of Tub Ring's "Kool Thing;" I don't really know. But the fact of the matter is that it would work wonderfully live, while here it just comes off like a quick timeout for overly silly nostalgia. Even this one glaring fault gives the middle section a bit of character, however.

Also, while dual versions of the same song is never the smartest idea, Saicobab do more than cheap rehashment closing out the comp. The wind chimes and obtusely random blood-curdling scream are just a pair of utterly frantic noises that fill the second version of "Death Valley '69," a proverbial wall of experimental antics that acts as the Hyde to its contemporary Jekyll opener.

For any Sonic Youth fan, this is a must. There's no better compliment to free-form noise experimentalism than an additional layer of free-form noise experimentalism, and that's exactly what Confuse Yr Idols pulls off.

Parts & Labor - Sugar Kane
Saciobab - Death Valley '69